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Thursday, March 19, 2009

GMA Network really loves Richard

It was probably the grandest TV launch undertaken by GMA Network.

Filled with the movie press, the network’s Studio 7 was transformed into a Mexican plaza circa 18th century as the venue for the launch-presscon of Zorro, the network’s new fantasy-action-adventure slated to premiere Monday night, March 23, on GMA Telebabad.

On cue, amidst gasps and oohs and aahs, Richard Gutierrez in a Zorro costume didn’t just walk into the stage — he “flew” (yes, on a harness) from the ceiling and proceeded to cross swords with a group of also-black-costumed guys.

Richard/Zorro’s entrance was preceded by a short film flashed on the huge monitor onstage, showing him riding a horse. Later, more film clips were shown, featuring three of the Hollywood actors who have played the same swashbuckling character — Douglas Fairbanks, Tyrone Power and Antonio Banderas (who was interviewed by The STAR in Hollywood for his starrer, The Legend of Zorro, in 2005).

“As for my previous TV starrers,” said Richard, referring to Captain Barbell, Mulawin, Kamandag, Sugo, Lupin and Codename: Asero (that earned him the title Local TV’s Superhero), “I also trained before we started shooting Zorro. I studied horseback-riding and fencing.”

The other members of the cast were all accounted for, likewise in costumes, led by Richard’s three leading ladies, Rhian Ramos, Bianca King and Michelle Madrigal; and also including Eddie Gutierrez, Mark Gil, Lani Mercado, TJ Trinidad, Jomari Yllana, Jaclyn Jose, Joel Torre, Sandy Andolong, Pinky Marquez, Leo Martinez, Ricky Davao, Sheena Halili, Bobby Andrews, Bubbles Paraiso, Maureen Larrazabal, Robert Villar, Antonio Aquitania, Elvis Gutierrez, Epi Quizon, Bodie Cruz, Shiela Marie, Paloma and Gloria Sevilla.

The “Filipinized” Zorro, still set in the 18th century but transplanted in a Philippine setting, chronicles the exploits of a skilled horseman/fighter who becomes the champion of the masses. It’s co-directed by Mark Reyes (Encantadia and Codename: Asero) and Dominic Zapata (Mulawin and Captain Barbell).

Wilma Galvante, GMA’s SVP for entertainment TV, sang praises for Richard, one of the network’s hottest properties.

Richard’s mom, Annabelle Rama, was also there but she and Wilma didn’t cross paths. They very beautifully avoided each other.

Moved by the bongga launch, Annabelle gushed.

“Mahal talaga si Richard ng Network!”




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